Family Portrait At Christmas

Siblings often argue and sometimes there is nothing that can be done to stop them. But you can take steps to limit the drama after your passing with an estate plan.

The death of a parent may lead to siblings bringing up old quarrels and differences. Old grievances, differing points of view or insights the siblings may have had in their childhood often come to surface when they start to divide the assets of their parent’s estate.

Any perceived issues of unfairness in the parent’s estate plan can become major rifts between the siblings that can lead to court battles, lifelong family feuds or worse.

Kiplinger recently offered some tips to help prevent this from happening to your estate in “Head Off Squabbles Among Your Heirs” including:

  • Talk to Your Children – The more communication you have with your children about your estate plan the better. While they do not need to know every little detail the more you tell them about what to expect and what your estate planning goals are the less likely they are to fight after you pass away.
  • Be Careful With Appointments – If your children already do not get along well and do not communicate with each other, then it is not a great idea to name one of them as an executor or trustee with power over the inheritance of the others.
  • Be Fair, Not Equal – Sometimes it is not fair to divide your estate equally between the children, such as when you have given more to one child already or when one child has greater needs than the others.
  • Make a List – You can list out your personal property and say who gets what, which will help prevent disputes over which child gets it.
  • Real Estate and Business – Any big-ticket items require careful consideration and planning as they are likely to lead to conflicts.
  • Blended Families – If all of your children do not have the same other parent, be extra cautious to make sure that everyone feels they are being treated fairly.

Squabbles often exist with siblings but an estate planning attorney may be able to help reduce them over inheritances.

Reference: Kiplinger (Nov., 2015) “Head Off Squabbles Among Your Heirs

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.